I love acorn spätzle, the little Teutonic dumplings we most associate with dishes like wienerschnitzel or sauerbraten.
This is a pretty standard recipe for German spätzle, only I add some acorn flour to the mix to make them earthier, nuttier and generally more rustic; I think they go better with wild game that way.
While you can make them with a colander, a coarse plate on a food mill or potato ricer, a cheese grater or even by flicking the batter off a board by hand, by far the best way to make spätzle is to spend the $15 and get a spätzle maker. You’ll not only thank me for making the process so easy, you’ll find yourself making a lot of spätzle.
While there are a few online sources for acorn flour, you pretty much have to make it yourself — here are instructions on how to make acorn flour.
That said, you can buy chestnut flour from specialty stores, or online. In a pinch, you could use spelt, rye or barley flour and get a similar effect.
- 3/4 cup acorn or chestnut flour
- 1 1/4 cups regular or whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Whisk together the two flours and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and mix well with a fork until you get a sticky batter.
- Cover and let this sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes, to allow the flours to hydrate.
- Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Using a spätzle maker, a coarse grater, colander or other device with large holes, drop the spätzle dough into the water in little bits. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes after they all rise to the surface.
- If you are eating them now, they’re ready. To hold for up to a day or so, plunge the spätzle into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and toss with a little oil, then set out on a sheet pan for up to a few hours, or in a covered container for a day or two.
- I prefer to serve my spätzle by frying in a bit of butter after they're all made and chilled. Heat maybe 1/4 cup of butter in a large, wide pan and lay the spätzle down on it. Toss to combine, then let the spätzle brown a bit by not moving them for about 90 seconds. Remove from the pan and serve hot.